This chicken dish is brilliantly spicy, but not at all overpowering. The taste complexity seems impossible from just 5 ingredients. And it’s easy to make.
The secret here is to de-seed the Thai chilies before you chop them. With seeds left in, the quantity of chilies used would be unbearably hot. The red flesh of the Thai chili has a less forceful and more complex heat that works well with garlic and black pepper. The Dominican Republic has become a major exporter of these (and other) fresh chilies, and of many exotic Asian vegetables.
- 2 pounds (1 kg) chicken thighs, peppered and lightly salted. (bone in, skin on preferred)
- 12 fresh Thai chilies, de-seeded and roughly chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 cup (200 ml) dry white wine
- 1/4 cup (50 ml) olive oil
- 1 cup (200 ml) vegetable stock
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- In a wide cast iron dutch oven, heat 1/4 cup olive oil (medium flame) and place the chicken in one layer, skin side up.
- Let the chicken cook in this position until brown, about 8 minutes over a medium flame.
- Turn the chicken, and brown the skin side, about 8 minutes. Take care not to scorch the chicken (or burn the oil) on a too-high flame. Also, do not crowd the pan. If necessary, brown the chicken in batches.
- When all the chicken has been browned, remove it from the pan, set aside, and turn off the heat completely.
- Immediately add the chilies and garlic to the hot oil in the pan. The cast iron will be hot enough to nicely cook the garlic and chili in about 4 minutes without burning. Stir occasionally.
- After 4-5 minutes, turn the flame back on, at medium-high, and deglaze the pan with a cup of white wine. Boil for 2-3 minutes so the alcohol can evaporate off. Some may enjoy adding a squeeze of fresh lemon juice here to brighten the flavors a bit.
- Put all the chicken in the pan, skin side up, and pour in the vegetable stock. Cook on medium-high heat for 12 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced by half.
- Serve in a wide bowl, with generous spoonfuls of the sauce.